Friday, January 9, 2015

Character Profile: Louis-Auguste

It has been a long first week of the quarter, and my brain is a little bit exhausted. I had my first "technical interview" today and it was pretty informal, but still kind of nerve wracking. Lots of stuff to do at the beginning of quarter, getting back into the swing of things. My point in this spiel is that I have not had much time to iron out my thoughts, though thoughts I have had--so this post I'm going to do a character profile. That is all I have the energy left for.


To make this more fun, I'm going to pick a random song and write about the character that most reminds me of that song.


Yellow - Coldplay


Honestly, the character this reminds me of the most is Louis-Auguste, also the historical Louis XVI, as I portray him in Ubermadchen. I suppose I cannot shirk the responsibility that the randomization algorithms put on me, so here goes. Also, there are spoilers for parts that I have not even written, but Louis-Auguste's involvement in the main plot is circumscribed so I do not particularly mind.


Louis-Auguste de France, Duc de Berry, Prince of France

Born 23 August 1754, died 21 January 1793 sometime in the 1800s

Louis-Auguste, the Duc de Berry, is the second son of Louis, Dauphin of France, and Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony. His siblings include his older brother Louis Xavier, King of France; his younger brothers Louis Stanislas (Comte de Provence) and Charles Philippe (Comte d'Artois); and his younger sisters Marie Clothilde and Elisabeth Helene. He is married to Princess Federique of Saxony, a second cousin, with no issue as of spring 1777.

Louis-Auguste has been overshadowed by his other brothers his entire life. He is regarded in public as an incompetent and bumbling, if kindly fool, and many of the more vicious rumors insinuate that he is impotent given that he and his wife have no children despite having been married for nearly five years.

In person, Louis-Auguste is kind, timid, and almost painfully unconfident. An intellectual, he spends much of his time in his workshop running amateur experiments and working with metal. Despite having had numerous court magician and officer magician tutors from childhood to his mid-teens, Louis-Auguste has never developed his magic very far, always failing at the simplest plant-based magics. Consequently, most regard him as a disappointment, and in fact Louis-Auguste has internalized this view.

Louis-Auguste's biggest secret is that he is deeply in love with his brother's wife, Queen Maria Antonia of France. She, however, seems not to notice his existence, and he has never been in her inner circle the way that his extraverted younger brother Charles Philippe is. In fact, among those in Maria Antonia's inner circle, Louis-Auguste is often referred to as le pauvre homme, or that poor man.

Despite his unrequited feelings toward Maria Antonia, Louis-Auguste is kind and considerate toward his wife. They often speak of philosophical ideas, and, if the rumors about their relationship did not hang over them, would be great friends. As matters stand, Louis-Auguste's closest friend at court is Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, the minister of finance, who recently implemented a number of reforms abolishing the guilds, the corvees (the practice of conscripting peasants to unpaid labor on roads), and restrictions on the grain trade between provinces.

After Emperor Joseph II of Austria visited Versailles in secret in the spring of 1777, people began to notice several changes in Louis-Auguste. After years of magical failure, Louis-Auguste presented Maria Antonia with a bouquet of magically-grown flowers to commemorate the anniversary of her marriage to King Louis Xavier. He also began to present metal-magic automaton birds for use in delivering messages around the palace and grounds of Versailles, which shocked all those who had found him insular and disconnected; while maintaining his personal workshop, he also began to sponsor more applied research for court magicians to undertake, and shocked many by attending classes at the Royal Academie of magic. Moreover, he began to take more of an interest in the affairs of state, and discussed potential reforms extensively with Turgot and with the King.

Louis-Auguste began to wear spectacles, despite objections from his brother's ministers of public opinion that he would thus be demonstrating his own imperfections and damaging the reputation of the royal family. He and Princess Federique had their first child in 1778, and by all accounts he is a devoted father, showing his daughter the affection and consideration that he was not, himself, shown.

Though years of a negative public image presented high barriers for Louis-Auguste, he was instrumental in introducing and sponsoring legislature to legalize the training of non-noble magicians, a move generally regarded as one of the most Enlightened policies of King Louis XVI's reign. His was also a strong voice in calling for increasing levels of French support for the States of North America in their war for independence from Great Britain. Furthermore, during the debt crisis of 1789, Louis-Auguste and Turgot's policies helped keep the country from falling into chaos.


So that is my version of Louis-Auguste for you. He is actually one of my favorite characters out of the main cast of five, and I really liked writing the section in Versailles. But this Innsbruck section is not so bad.

Have a good weekend, all!

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